Tired of uniform and uninspiring complexes, Lucy Maddox highlights some unique and quirky cinemas across the globe
Regent Centre, Christchurch, UK
Entering the Regent Centre in Christchurch is like stepping back in time. First opened as a cinema in 1931, it had a brief foray into the world of bingo before reopening as an arts centre in 1983 with its original art deco style restored. Acting as a theatre and music venue as well as a single screen cinema, the Regent Centre shows a selection of the latest releases (albeit a little later than most) plus live broadcasts of plays, ballets and opera shows.
Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka, New Zealand
Wanaka is best known for its wide range of outdoor activities, situated on the southern end of Lake Wanaka with Mount Aspiring National Park on its doorstep. After a day of hiking, sailing or skiing, take in a film at this little gem of a theatre. Choose whether to sit in an old plane seat, snuggle up on a sofa or chill out in an old Morris Minor for some drive-in vibes. Homemade ice cream and fresh hot cookies are available at every intermission.
Electric Cinema, London, UK
Showing a mix of independent films and blockbusters, Electric Cinema is a top choice to see a film for date night or for a fun hangout with friends. Choose either the Notting Hill or Shoreditch location for the ultimate cinema experience complete with plush red armchairs or sofas, plus cosy cashmere blankets to wrap up in for unrivalled luxury.
Village East Cinema, New York, US
Best known for the main auditorium’s elaborate gold ceiling, Village East Cinema is one of the few surviving ‘Yiddish Rialto’ theatres, built in 1925. Designed in the neo-moorish style with Islamic and Judaic motifs it’s a very ornamental cinema, loaded with New York history. It shows a mixture of foreign, independent and mainstream films so make sure to visit for a real cultural experience in a vintage setting.
Moonlight Cinema, Australia
Open for around half the year, mostly over the summer months, this outdoor cinema venue has locations in all major Australian cities. Bring a picnic or visit the bar and LA-style food truck for movie meals including Nutella waffles and sliders with fries. Huge beanbag beds are also available for hire so you can get comfy and enjoy the best of both worlds — a good film and some fresh air.
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney: December – April; Port Douglas: June – October